National First-Generation College Celebration Honors First-Generation Student and Alumni Accomplishments on November 8

In 2022 the First-Gen+ Center and campus partners at George Mason University created events to celebrate, center, and empower their first-generation Patriots.
Seventh annual celebration to highlight first-generation corporate leaders in virtual event on Thursday, November 2 and Wednesday, November 8. Pictured above: In 2022 the First-Gen+ Center and campus partners at George Mason University created events to celebrate, center, and empower their first-generation Patriots.

WASHINGTON, D.C.—On Wednesday, November 8, the Council for Opportunity in Education (COE) and the Center for First-generation Student Success, an initiative of NASPA and The Suder Foundation, will lead the national efforts for the seventh annual First-Generation College Celebration.

“The First-Generation College Celebration is not just a day; it’s a monumental testament to the unstoppable determination and boundless potential that first-generation students bring to our educational landscape and society,” said COE President Kimberly Jones. “Their journey is a beacon of inspiration, reminding us that the pursuit of knowledge knows no boundaries, and with unwavering support, these students will continue to break barriers and reshape the future.”

Launched by COE and the Center for First-generation Student Success in 2017, the First-Generation College Celebration has united hundreds of college campuses across the country an often-overlooked population through numerous events, including student rallies, faculty-led panel discussions, artistic performances, and more in recognition of first-generation students, administrators, faculty, and alumni. The First-Generation College Celebration is celebrated each year on November 8 as it marks the anniversary of signing of the 1965 Higher Education Act, which has helped millions of first-generation students persist to degree completion.

Learn more about the First-Generation College Celebration, download the media kit, and view highlights from past celebrations.
Celebration Day Resources

At the national level, COE and the Center for First-generation Student Success will co-host a virtual event focusing on career trajectories for first-generation students, featuring a panel of first-generation alumni who have risen to senior leader roles in some of the world’s most recognizable companies. Moderated by Dr. Tracy D. Hall, president of Southwest Tennessee Community College, the panel includes:

  • Tinisha Agramonte, senior vice president and chief diversity officer, The Walt Disney Company;
  • Jessica Cipolla-Tario, vice president of Global Creative Services for Sony Interactive Entertainment;
  • Marge Jackson, senior vice president-head of sales for Comcast; and
  • Leticia Silva, senior vice president of Human Resources for Major League Baseball’s Minnesota Twins.

Each panelist will discuss their journey as a first-generation student and how they are working to open doors for future first-generation leaders. COE will broadcast the event twice, on Thursday, November 2, at 1:00 p.m. ET and on Wednesday, November 8, at 6:00 p.m. ET. Registration is free and open to all.

“The First-Generation College Celebration brings attention to the accomplishments of a population representing one-third of all currently enrolled college students,” said Dr. Sarah E. Whitley, vice president at the Center for First-generation Student Success. “Not only that, but advancing an asset-based national narrative on first-generation student experiences and outcomes is one way to help first-gen students understand the tremendous strengths they bring to our communities, and the potential they have to take control and realize their career goals.”

To learn more about the First-Generation College Celebration, view the media kit, or see highlights from past celebrations, visit our National First-Generation College Celebration page. You can also track and view activities and events from across the country on social media by searching for #CelebrateFirstGen.

Media Inquiries

For media inquiries or to arrange an interview, please contact Terrance L. Hamm, associate vice-president for communications and marketing at COE via email at [email protected] or call (202) 347-7430.

More News & Impact